Can You Sell Property in Probate – California Law
The simple answer to the above question is yes. Before you can proceed with the sale of real estate, you will need the go ahead from the Probate Court. There are timelines to be aware of and procedures to follow.
An application to open probate must be filed with the Court. The next step is the naming of the Personal Representative or the Executor/Administrator being assigned to manage the estate. The PR or Executor is either named in the Will or if no Will, will be appointed by the Court.
Now just because a PR or executor has been named does not give the green light to sell real estate. You have to obtain the proper authority from the Probate court. This authority is when either the Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration has been issued by the court. These letters are what allow you to move forward with any property to be sold.
Probate Full Authority to Manage the Estate
The ideal situation when you file is to get “full authority”, under the California Independent Administration of Estates Act (IAEA). Full IAEA will allow you to sell without formal court confirmation as long as nobody objects to the sale.
Probate Limited Authority Downside
Limited authority requires the Court to give the final blessing for the sale. Going through a court confirmation process can cause some agents and buyers to shy away from the process, as it takes a little longer waiting for court approval. The buyer must complete all requirements for loan approval and remove all contingencies from the contract before the Court will approve the sales. And there is also the possibility of another buyer stepping in at the hearing and overbidding the original offer. Per California probate rules is allowed.
While you are waiting for the Letters, you can begin working on getting the house ready for sale by removing all the items, sprucing up the home if required and interviewing realtors just like any other sale. As soon as you get the Letters you are ready to have your realtor list the property.
What Could Stop the Probate Sale
Now the only thing that will stop the sale, even with the letters is if someone objects, i.e. the heirs. Your attorney will send out a Notice of Proposed Action to all heirs. If there is an objection, the sale will be put on hold until resolved by the attorneys or the Cour.
If everyone is in agreement, then the sale will close and the money from the sale will be deposited to the estate bank account for distribution when the whole estate is finalized.
This is just an overview to answer the question of selling a home in California in Probate. You should talk to an experienced California probate attorney about your case to make sure you follow all the rules correctly to manage the disposition of the estate